Martinique??

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
We are starting to plan the first chunk of my husband's sabbatical and are considering spending some time (perhaps 4-6 weeks, TBD) on Martinique. We'd be going in Jan./Feb. 2016.

Has anyone spent an extended time on Martinique? I am curious about what it is like to live there (vs. a week or two enjoying the beaches at a fancy hotel).

Thanks for any info you may be able to offer!
 

heavenlyjane

Level 2 Member
We are researching a winter trip to St. Lucia, which is next door to Martinique. We bought a guide book to the Windward Islands and Martinique was given 5 pages. Probably a French language guidebook would offer more info, as most of their tourists come from either France or Francophone Canada.

My impression is that Martinique is a relatively tourist-free Caribbean island. I happen to think this is a good thing because I am more interested in exploring local culture than I am in laying in front of an infinity pool at a luxury hotel.

Martinique is known for its "volcano tourism". People visit to see their amazing volcano (Mt. Pelée) and to understand the eruption 113 years ago that wiped out most inhabitants of their capital city, St-Pierre.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
My impression is that Martinique is a relatively tourist-free Caribbean island. I happen to think this is a good thing because I am more interested in exploring local culture than I am in laying in front of an infinity pool at a luxury hotel.
Totally agree! As the wife of a sociologist, who would rather be exploring a new place than lying in the sun, it is a good thing that I too prefer local culture to sun bathing.

The fact that Martinique is French speaking is part of the appeal, since we both can manage in French. My husband in particular loves using his French, having spent a year in Lyon doing thesis research many years ago.

We originally considered South America, but know ourselves well enough to understand that we'd get very frustrated if we tried to spend 4-6 weeks living in a place where we did not speak the language. Martinique is close enough to SA that we could also do some traveling as tourists there, while making Martinique our home base. He will be on sabbatical for three months, so while we won't travel the whole time, we will have ample time to do more than Martinique.
 

heavenlyjane

Level 2 Member
Martinique is a great place for an extended day. Once great feature is the ferry access to several other islands (St. Lucia, Dominica, possibly Barbados). Lots of potential.
 

niehlin2

Level 2 Member
I too prefer local culture to sun bathing. We visited both Matinique and St Lucia before. While in St Lucia we were staying at the north tip and were able to see Martinique. Port-de-France was very busy/noisy with lots of traffic. We didn't stay long enough to explore many places. We were at St Lucia 2 weeks each time we were there and explored many places and visited some local people. It was fun.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
Thought you all might find this of interest, from a French friend who has been to Martinique. The info on flights in clearly out of date, but otherwise, read on:

"Yes, La Martinique is lovely!
We went there twice; in March and December 1999 (Christmas) for five days each.
The problem is to get there. Since few Americans go, there is no direct flight, and you have to go through customs twice, take three planes (Indy-Atlanta-San Juan-(Puerto Rico)-Fort-de-France). As my brother Edmond said: “You might as well come to Paris. At least, you will get a direct flight!”
However, we stayed at a lovely resort in Le Diamant where Félicia went scuba diving. Since we rented a Jeep, we did a fair amount of traveling. The food was wonderful being French exotic like magret de canard with a mango sauce!
Take plenty of “crème solaire,” though, because the sun is brutal. Félicia got the worst sunburn of her life there. We thought we were going to have to take her to the hospital. We also visited the plantation where Joséphine de Beauharnais (Napoléon’s first wife) grew up aux Trois Ilets. I will never forget what our young guide said when I asked: “But what in the world was her family doing here?” “To colonize us, of course!” That shut me up!!!"

I am starting to think 4-6 weeks would be way too long, unless H is teaching at the University which wasn't really part of the plan....
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
Have always wanted to go there. Have looked for flights there many times. It is hard to get to for sure. As a francophone, I really have tried to go to both Martinique and Guadeloupe, but always found it a challenging itinerary. For that reason alone, if you go, it makes sense to spend an extended time there. Cannot wait to hear about your experiences if you go! Can I visit you:) Since you are on the west coast and you are thinking a French experience, consider French Polynesia too.
 
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